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Topic: Challenge Category - Horror or Scary Story

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Subject: Challenge Category - Horror or Scary Story
Date Posted: 1/18/2010 12:19 PM ET
Member Since: 8/13/2009
Posts: 298
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I don't think anyone started the Horror/Scary Story thread so I thought I'd begin.

My choice:  A Sicilian Romance by Ann Radcliffe.    Radcliffe paints a very dark picture in her choice of descriptive words.  In one paragraph, for instance, you will find words like broken, anxious, fear, shrunk (as in to shrink away), disgraceful, dreadful, despair, and distress, etc.  This is consistent throughout the novel with little relief, so it can be heavy going as the oppressive atmosphere begins to weigh you down. 

I thought the story good but the opposing themes intrigued me more:  reason vs. superstition, parental tyrrany vs. young love, and wealth and decay vs. innocence.   And then there is the thread of female victimization and oppression in the form of the lost mother, the governess, and her two charges, Julia and Emilia - even in the evil stepmother, a victim of her own unreasoning passion for her young lover. Definitely, there was alot of food for thought!

Radcliffe, who was supposedly shy and reclusive during her life, became more fascinating to me.  I'm looking forward to reading The Romance of the Forest which she wrote after A Sicilian Romance.  



Last Edited on: 1/24/10 5:02 PM ET - Total times edited: 4
Date Posted: 2/16/2010 2:02 PM ET
Member Since: 8/17/2009
Posts: 1,588
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I read Dracula by Bram Stoker. I rate my books on a scale of 5, but Dracula obliterates the scale. I didnot expect that. I don't care for horror, generally, nor am I fond offirst person narratives, and even less so of the "journal" narrative technique. It's usually contrived. So when I saw that's what it was, I was prepared to plough through it and find it "ok" best.Well, I see now why authors havemimiced the technique. Stoker is genious with it. He uses it VERY effectively to suggest the horror, rather than state it, and then half way through,the very journel entries themselves become a critical plot point. Oh, so clever, but not too clever to, too cute. Oh no, not at all. Totally loved this book. Why did I wait so long to read it?



Last Edited on: 2/16/10 2:04 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 2/16/2010 2:23 PM ET
Member Since: 9/20/2008
Posts: 402
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I have never read Dracula and I am looking forward to it. So much so that I am thinking of forgoing Frankenstein in it's place. Ann Radcliffe seems interesting. I would have never known she even existed. Thanks for beginning the thread!
Date Posted: 2/16/2010 5:45 PM ET
Member Since: 10/17/2006
Posts: 1,427
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When you do read Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley, it will be even more of a reading experience for you if you also look up Stephen Jay Gould's essay, "The Monster's Human Nature", contained in his book, Dinosaur in a Haystack. (P. S. Its is the possessive form . . .don't write "it's" unless you mean the contraction, "It's", the equivalent of "It is". Sorry, sometimes the old copy editor in me still breaks loose.)

Date Posted: 2/17/2010 7:42 AM ET
Member Since: 9/20/2008
Posts: 402
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Bonnie, Thanks for pointing out my grammetical error. I know better. Please feel free to let loose the old editor on me anytime. Should I read the Gould essay before or after the book?
Date Posted: 2/17/2010 5:29 PM ET
Member Since: 10/17/2006
Posts: 1,427
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Michael, it doesn't matter whether you read the essay before or after Mrs. Shelley's book, but I would hope that, either way, it makes you think about the book in light of what Mrs. Shelley and Mr. Gould said. ( "grammatical" NOT 'grammetical . . . .'twas an orthographical error ifnot a typographical one.)

Date Posted: 2/17/2010 9:56 PM ET
Member Since: 5/18/2008
Posts: 123
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I LOVE Dracula!!! I'm SO glad other people are picking it up and enjoying it!

I'd always sort of pass it on my bookshelf and grimace...until a friend said she'd read it for like the 25th time...and she went on and on about how it was so sweet. Scary, but REALLY sweet. That got my curiosity up. I read it...and it's now waaaaay up there at the top of my favorites list. *Sigh* SUCH a good book. Michael M: Definitely read it!

Date Posted: 2/18/2010 8:52 AM ET
Member Since: 9/20/2008
Posts: 402
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In all fairness I think the last mistake was a typo. Looking forward to this read more and more.
Date Posted: 3/1/2010 8:20 AM ET
Member Since: 8/27/2005
Posts: 4,123
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I just finished Waking Up Screaming, a collection of short stories by H. P. Lovecraft. The last time I read Lovecraft was during college, so it's been about...30 years! The quality of thse stories varied from mediocre (only a couple) to great, and I can just imagine the reaction to his work at the time it was written.

This time around I read a little bit about his life--something that didn't strike me when I read him before (or maybe I just don't remember now) was the incidental racism in some of the stories. Even taking the time period into account, it seemed a little extreme.

Date Posted: 3/8/2010 8:21 PM ET
Member Since: 7/31/2006
Posts: 14,634
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Phantom of the Opera is classified as horror isn't it?

Date Posted: 3/9/2010 9:35 AM ET
Member Since: 8/13/2009
Posts: 298
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Phantom of the Opera is classified as horror isn't it?

That's how I would classify it, Susanna.

Subject: horror classic
Date Posted: 4/11/2010 7:38 PM ET
Member Since: 4/9/2008
Posts: 550
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I like Dracula and Frankenstein, but I don't hear of many people who have read the Gormenghast trilogy by Mervyn Peake. Amazing world!

Date Posted: 4/11/2010 8:44 PM ET
Member Since: 4/4/2009
Posts: 9,433
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I know we need to keep everyone reading. Any book read is better than no book read. But I am curious as to what definition of classic a contemporary broadway play will qualify as.

Date Posted: 4/11/2010 9:58 PM ET
Member Since: 12/27/2007
Posts: 702
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John, are you referring to the posts about Phantom?

The Phantom of the Opera (original title: Le Fantme de l'Opra) is a novel by French writer Gaston Leroux. It was first published as a serialization in "Le Gaulois" from September 23, 1909 to January 8, 1910. Initially, the story sold very poorly upon publication in book form and was even out of print several times during the twentieth century, despite the success of its various film and stage adaptations

Date Posted: 4/11/2010 11:00 PM ET
Member Since: 6/19/2007
Posts: 5,930
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I'd definitely consider Leroux's Phantom of the Opera horror, or at the very least gothic. It's not scary, but it's been a favorite of mine since I first read it when I was about 12. Like Frankenstein, it's appeal IMO comes from the moral ambiguity, with both "monsters" doing terrible things but not being entirely unsympathetic.

I'm considering switching my horror to some of the Lovecraft stories I've never read, but I'm still curious to read Matthew Lewis' notorious book The Monk.

Date Posted: 4/12/2010 10:29 AM ET
Member Since: 5/4/2008
Posts: 364
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I loved Phantom of the Opera. It was very different from the musical. There is a lot more to the story and youlearn more background on the Phantom. Great story!

I'm planning on reading The Turn of the Screw by Henry James. Has anyone ever read this one? I'll probably downloadit tomy Nook. Since it's so old I should be able to download for free. I've been able to do tat with several of my challenge books :)

Rick B. (bup) - ,
Date Posted: 4/12/2010 11:36 AM ET
Member Since: 11/2/2007
Posts: 2,625
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I'm planning on reading The Turn of the Screw by Henry James. Has anyone ever read this one?

Oh, yes.

Date Posted: 4/12/2010 1:57 PM ET
Member Since: 5/4/2008
Posts: 364
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Oh no!! Well I'll try....that makes it a true challenge. :)

Date Posted: 4/12/2010 6:25 PM ET
Member Since: 12/27/2007
Posts: 702
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I've read The Turn of the Screw, just last year as a matter of fact. I liked it. That doesn't mean that I figured it out, however. So, hickgal, after you read it, you may explain it to me. I even told my 7th graders about it and they were intrigued.

Now, I just listened to 3 stories by H.P. Lovecraft and will use that (rather than reading Frankenstein) for my horror category. I feel as though I'm cheating by doing that and will read Frankenstein some other time. The Lovecraft stories were "The Alchemist," "The Tomb," and "The PIcture in the House." Perhaps I would have enjoyed them more if I had read them. They all seemed to me as though that started off interesting and then just quit.

Date Posted: 4/13/2010 2:46 PM ET
Member Since: 5/4/2008
Posts: 364
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I downloaded The Turn of the Screw to my Nook for 99 cents. I'm going to try. I'll let you know, Vivian.

Date Posted: 5/25/2010 7:25 PM ET
Member Since: 6/19/2007
Posts: 5,930
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I just finished my Horror Classic, Dreams of Terror & Death by H.P. Lovecraft, or rather the 12 or so stories in it that I wasn't already familiar with. I love Lovecraft. I love how unapologectically weird he is, and how from all his works you get the idea that he's hyperparanoid recluse.

For those who don't know Lovecraft, most of his works focus on how the reality we know is just the flimsy crust covering a world of ancientmonsters, demons and forgotten gods that are liable, at any moment, to break through and at best drive the hapless narrator stark staring mad and at worst destroy all of humanity.

He's great, and uniquely captivating writer, but reading him puts me in a weird mood.

I read The Dunwich Horror, The Call of Cthulu, Dagon, The Shadow Over Innsmouth, The Thing on the Doorstep, The Lurking Fear, Haunter of the Dark, Herbert West- Reanimator, The Outsider, The Horror at Red Hook, The Statement of Randolph Carr, The Rats in the Walls, The Shunned House, The Music of Erich Zann



Last Edited on: 5/25/10 11:21 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 5/25/2010 9:17 PM ET
Member Since: 3/27/2009
Posts: 25,000
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Vanessa,

I downloaded some Lovecraft on my e-reader and read the first story. Awesome. I hope the rest of his short stories are as good.

Date Posted: 6/6/2010 8:58 PM ET
Member Since: 7/22/2009
Posts: 2,617
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Just finished Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House. I didn't really get it and I didn't really like it. I thought the characters were uninteresting, the dialogue often ridiculous, and the plot, well, so-so. To be fair, I am not a fan of this genre -- so others might appreciate this allegedly classic haunted house story but I did not.

Date Posted: 6/21/2010 2:52 PM ET
Member Since: 9/20/2008
Posts: 402
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I just finished "The Picture of Dorian Gray" by Oscar Wilde. This was Wilde's only novel. The urban legend of Dorian Gray and the actual story are pretty different. Wilde has flashes of brilliance in the book but overall I was disappointed. He went on forever about absolutely nothing. The story just dragged. Characters were added and subtracted and besides the main three had no real point at all.

Date Posted: 6/21/2010 9:22 PM ET
Member Since: 10/18/2009
Posts: 110
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Well put about "The Picture of Dorian Gray." I was hoping for more when I read it.

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